Courage: What’s love got to do with it?

Ari Honarvar
2 min readMar 1, 2016


Painting by Carmen Costello and Ari Honarvar (copyright 2014)

Fear! Hello amazing creature! I am here to face you:

Love was frightening,

so I have become a lover

No longer the sly fox,

I charge ahead towards the angry lion

Now I see her face clearly

I am the roaring lion

and the one who embraces it

The moon whispers: Don’t cover your wounds

Love can only heal if you stand naked — Rumi

Love is frightening. Deep down we know that the realm of love is not only a field of rainbows and flowers but also a deep dark forest of shadows and inner beasts and demons. We often gladly enter the field, but rarely dare to venture into that terrifying forest, and when we do so, we become clad in full armor as if it were a battleground. We emerge with an empty hand and a confused mind, bearing battle scars. Rather than realizing that we have been waging war against the most malnourished and neglected parts of ourselves, we conclude that we must not return to that horrible place and if we have no choice, we bring more protective gear and armaments.

What if next time, we left the armor behind and carried with us a mirror? The field is us and the frightening forest is us also. Whether we withhold ourselves from love or embrace it with all of our being, the mirror responds accordingly. There is no “other” in love. What better way to heal lifetimes of wounds than to stand naked in the presence of love?



Ari Honarvar

Speaker, performer, refugee advocate| @guardian @washingtonpost and more| The author of Rumi’s Gift and upcoming novel, A Girl Called Rumi